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So far Allie Preston has created 233 blog entries.

Your moment of Everglades Zen: Florida Bay Dreamin’

If Lake Okeechobee is the Everglades’ liquid heart, Florida Bay is its glittering jewel. Seen here from the air, through the eyes of our multimedia producer Leah Voss, light plays across the many vibrant hues of the Everglades’ southernmost watery reaches. It is a final destination. Water that drains south slowly through the Everglades eventually empties into Florida Bay, nearly all of which lies within the footprint of Everglades National Park. Florida Bay is an immensely important ecosystem, boasting up to 10% of the world’s seagrass and home to one of the greatest recreational fisheries in the world — an economic driver that equates to $439 million annually to the local economy [...]

2022-09-06T11:20:37-04:00September 6th, 2022|Everglades Zen, Florida Bay|

The Last Burn Season Video Series: “I’m making plans to relocate.”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “It impacts my quality of life, not only health-wise but my social life... I'm gradually making plans to relocate.” — Ras Benjahman Howard Stephens, known to his friends as Ras Benjahman, lives in an oasis at his home in Lake Harbor on the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee. His yard bursts with greenery — trees and plants lovingly cultivated into his own private jungle. The upkeep takes time, but the gardening and the daily maintenance of his small farm are welcome toils. He is emphatically fulfilled by the life [...]

VIDEO: Corps demonstrates that transparency is the best policy in shaping LOSOM

Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples (left) and Policy Director Gil Smart (right) converse with Tim Gysan and Col. James Booth of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during a Clean Water Conversation at the Friends of the Everglades offices in Sewall’s Point. For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents toxic-algae crises like we've seen in years prior. Today we had a chance to speak candidly with Army Corps leaders about the specifics of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that will govern the way water moves in and [...]

2022-08-18T16:52:09-04:00August 18th, 2022|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

NEW SHOP: Raise a glass to the River of Grass!

Introducing the Friends of the Everglades Shop! Friends of the Everglades founder Marjory Stoneman Douglas was famous for her persistence. In her work to preserve and protect America's Everglades, moments of discouragement and disappointment only seemed to make her more sure of the need to galvanize the next fight. One of Marjory's quotes perfectly illuminates her resolve — so, we've decided to memorialize it on some everyday items to share her sense of strength and purpose in the face of adversity. This year, on the 75th anniversary of Everglades National Park and Marjory's seminal book, "The Everglades: River of Grass," consider supporting our work to preserve Marjory's legacy by purchasing one of our debut shop items. Marjory Stoneman Douglas [...]

2022-09-14T16:45:01-04:00August 15th, 2022|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades SHOP|

The Last Burn Season Video Series: A love letter to the people of Belle Glade

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “When people come to Belle Glade they don’t fall in love with anything else first, but the people.” — Robert Mitchell Robert Mitchell knows that the true soul of Belle Glade is in the people who live there. From an empty plot of land where his late grandmother once owned a beloved restaurant, Essie Mae’s Cafe, he makes a firm declaration: “We have a saying here in Belle Glade that her soil is her fortune. I’m here to tell you that her soil AND her people are her fortune.” [...]

Live conversation with Corps to address how LOSOM will impact the southern half of Florida

                                Join us for a live LOSOM update with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Three years in the making, the Army Corps of Engineers’ new playbook for managing water out of Lake O just hit a new milestone with the release of draft documents that will guide the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). The consensus of the people has been clear: We are tired of being poisoned by water management policies that over-prioritize benefits to the agricultural industry and leave communities downstream of Lake Okeechobee vulnerable to toxic discharges.  LOSOM was an attempt to address the concerns of many competing interests and [...]

2022-08-05T12:13:44-04:00August 10th, 2022|All Posts|

Everglades Illustrated: Breaking down LOSOM

How will water move in and out of Lake Okeechobee over the next decade? The image above offers a glimpse of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, better known as LOSOM. Allow us to explain. The arrows pointing to the left of the chart indicate lake flows going west to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The arrows pointing to the right of the chart are going east to the St. Lucie. Zone A (above the red line) represents the highest lake stages. Under LOSOM, when the lake level jumps over 17 feet, all bets are off for the northern estuaries. Maximum releases can be sent east and west to protect the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike. These high-level discharges are [...]

2022-08-09T08:09:05-04:00August 9th, 2022|Everglades Illustrated, LOSOM|

LOSOM Update: An improvement, but not a cure-all

            An improvement, but not a cure-all For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents the kind of toxic-algae crisis that devastated Florida in 2018 and years prior. We now have a detailed draft of the new plan, courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers. In a nutshell: The Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will be an improvement over the existing plan — but, make no mistake, LOSOM will not be a cure-all. LOSOM will reduce, but not stop harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. It will increase flows south to the Everglades, [...]

Environmental organizations provide a progress report on the Blue-Green Algae Task Force recommendations implementation

In early 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis created a new Blue-Green Algae Task Force — made up of highly qualified scientists from around the state charged with issuing recommendations for addressing Florida's blue-green algae crisis. In 2019, the task force released a "consensus document," outlining recommended steps to do just that. And yet, in the nearly three years since then very few have ever been implemented. Today, a press release issued by environmental organizations including Friends of the Everglades criticized Florida leaders for failing to address critical water-quality concerns by not adequately implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and announced the debut of the Blue-Green Algae Bloom Task Force Recommendations Implementation Progress Report As it states, "during [...]

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